Monday, July 25, 2011

You Never Close Your Eyes...

Sorry guys. My dad is a Righteous Brothers fan and I've had that song stuck in my head for DAYS. It's warring with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song in my brain.

Conditions like these do not merit well-worded blog posts. Consider yourself forewarned.

But, it did get me thinking about the ever popular genre of Christian romance. (Don't ask. I have no idea where the Connect-The-Dots in my brain were for that one.) While my books are more "Lit" style, they do, technically I guess, fall under the "romance" umbrella.

What are your thoughts on Christian romance? How many of you write it?

I tend to shy away from writing actual romance. When characters in my books fall in love, I like to show the fun and thoughtful side of it. Writing romance is hard work. You have to convey a certain amount of chemistry without sounding cheesy and at the same time figure out how to have it come across to the reader without sounding sappy.

I think we've probably all read books where we've gagged through half of the scenes featuring the hero and heroine together. If you want to write Christian romance, here's two little exercises:

First, find a Christian romance where you just loved the story. You really felt like the characters were in love and everything just worked without sounding goofy. Then read back through it slowly. What adjectives did the writer use in the scenes were the hero and heroine were together? What descriptions were used? Why did it feel real to you?

Next, take a book where something about the character's romance just bugged you. Then, rewrite the scene. Figure out how to show chemistry without telling. Think of original descriptions without getting too "flowery", like I can be sometimes. None of this, "His hair was like a flowing, brown river of chocolate with the occasional thin ripples of caramel." ;) (And can I just say, EW.)

Ha! While we're at it, get all your cheesiness out here. Got a sappy analogy you need to get out of your system? Leave it in the comments!! :)


  1. Good thoughts! I'm a romance writer for Love Inspired, and even my YA coming out in January with Barbour has a super strong romance thread. For me it comes more easily I think because I've spent SO MANY years reading it. lol But it can definitely be a fine line in that cheesy-balance you mentioned! No flowing hair especially on heroes! hahah. No Fabio ;) I think the key is staying fresh. And realistic. You wouldn't look a hot guy and think about his flowing hair, so don't have your heroine. You'd probably notice a bright smile, striking eyes, muscular build, etc. (and if you notice his butt, well, I doubt your CBA pub will let you add that ::wink::) Same for the hero. He's going to notice the heroine's smile, eyes, figure, etc. Stay true to the voice of that character. Maybe he thinks in metaphos related to his job, or she's into art so she has a more vivid palette of colors to choose from in her mental descriptions. (like sapphire or emerald or periwinkle, instead of blue or green, etc.)

  2. Great post! I'm with you Erynn, I like the element of romance but not the gagging kindof stuff. Funny you bring up Fabio Betsy because I've told people before when asked if I like romance books "not the ones at the grocery store with Fabio on the cover" hahaha

    I know you guys are always looking for ideas to post and today's post gave me one! I love the suggestion of exercises to try so what about more posts with exercise to strengthen our writing?

  3. I'd like to learn about how to study already published books? I always hear that I read as much as possible (I love to do that) and to study author in our desired genre. But I don't know what to look for to study it?

  4. Hi Suri! Quick answer here, then maybe we can do a bigger post later - my fav method of studying published books is to read, and when something stirs your heart or captures your attention somehow, highlight it. Then go back and try to figure out WHY it captured your attention. Was it the formatting on the page? Did the phrase in question get a line of its own, so it stood out? Was it the emotion? The adjectives? A funny line of dialogue? Read, highlight, and then asks questions such as "why?" and you can't go wrong. :)

  5. Thank you, I can get to work on it :) but what is formatting on a the page?

  6. When I say the formatting, here I mean this that I added next: Did the phrase in question get a line of its own, so it stood out?

    Like, sentence structure. The way the sentences/words/paragraphs are arranged on the page. Not the margins or the stuff the publisher does, but the way sentences or phrases can be emphasized by the writer, such as putting a short line by itself on a line for "punch".

  7. Tonya, thanks for the idea!! I'll be sure to start incorporating more exercises for y'all!